El Salvador has bestowed the first 'Amigo de El Salvador' award on the London-based Archbishop Romero Trust, which celebrates the legacy of human rights advocate Archbishop Oscar Romero.
On 11 November 2011 Hugo Martinez, El Salvador's minister for foreign affairs, presented a gold medallion at a London reception to the trust chair, Julian Filochowski, and said the award was in honour of the trust's stalwart work.
Founded in 2007, the trust promotes knowledge and awareness of Romero's life and work, organises an annual lecture and supports human rights and social justice initiatives in Latin America, according to its website.
The new award will be bestowed on foreign nationals that have contributed to the wellbeing of Salvadoreans abroad and in their country. The awards reception was hosted by El Salvador's ambassador to Britain and was attended by Brazilian, Chilean and Argentinian ambassadors.
Romero, who was Roman Catholic, spoke out against repression during El Salvador's 12-year civil war in which at least 75,000 people died. He was murdered while saying Mass on 24 March 1980.
US President Barack Obama last May visited his burial site in the cathedral of San Salvador.
The trust's patrons include Catholic and Anglican clergy in Britain, including Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. The feast day for Romero and the martyrs of El Salvador is 24 March.
* Romero Trust: www.romerotrust.org.uk/
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]